Summary: A sermon on 4 things we can do if we are struggling with some sin. Based on Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin from John 11:45-53. (Outline from Steve Hopkins)
Sermon for 11/19/2006
Strike Me Blind in One Eye!
Two shopkeepers were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they would spend each day keeping track of each other’s business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, "I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can be very rich, but he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?" The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, "Here is my request: Strike me blind in one eye!"
A. Finally we are getting some honesty from the religious leaders. Vs. 47
1. In chapter 9 we see that Jesus opened the eyes of a man born blind. Never been done before in the history of the world!
2. In chapter 11 we see that Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave. Not just dead for a little while but in the tomb for 4 days. (John 11:39 NIV) "Take away the stone," he said. "But, Lord," said Martha, the sister of the dead man, "by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days."
3. These are the most spectacular miracles of Jesus but they are not the only miracles. Jesus did hundreds, thousands, of miracles.
4. The religious leaders could not deny that there was something about this man Jesus that was miraculous.
B. Vs. 48
1. They were the religious leaders, the people were supposed to follow them.
2. (Mat 27:18 NIV) For he (Pilate) knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.
3. Two reasons they gave for hating Jesus:
a) (John 5:16 NIV) So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him.
b) (John 5:18 NIV) For this reason the Jews tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
4. Now we get some honesty, it really had little to do with these two things. It was that the crowds followed Jesus. They were filled with envy.
5. They were so patriotic, so in love with the nation, looking out for the good of the nation. Rubbish! In the Sound of Music, Maria tells Max: Max, I can’t ask him to be less than he is. Max: Then I’ll talk to him. If the children don’t sing, well. . . . . .It will be a reflection on Austria. Oh, I know. It wouldn’t do me any good either.
6. Really, it has little to do with patriotism and a lot to do with self interest.
7. These people were operating on situation ethics. They wanted to preserve their own comfort.
C. Vs. 49
1. To get an understanding of this situation we have to give some history.
a. The Sanhedrin was established when the Israelites were a free nation. After winning their independence from the Greeks, the high priest ran both the government and the temple. He was basically the priest and the king.
b. To help him in this duty, they set up the Sanhedrin. It was made up of the chief priests at the temple, they were descendants of Aaron. It was made up of prominent teachers of the Law, the leaders of the synagogues. This group helped the high priest run the nation.
c. When the Romans came and took over, the Sanhedrin still existed but they were stripped of much of their power. Mainly they were over the temple and the synagogues.
d. The Romans choose high priests from the chief priests who were loyal to them.
2. Caiaphas, with the help of his father in law, Annas, stayed as high priest for several years.
3. Annas was the one who capitalized on buying and selling in the temple when he was high priest. The money started to roll in. High priest Right before Caiaphas.
4. Caiaphas did the same thing. He made a lot of money.
5. Caiaphas was an egotistical, rude opportunist. He criticized the council for their ignorance.
D. Vs. 50
1. Jesus presented a threat to Caiaphas popularity, to his money, so he intended to get rid of Him. He used patriotism as an excuse to get rid of Jesus. Self interest and envy motivated him.
2. The end justifies the means. Fellows, we will keep our positions and popularity if we get rid of Jesus.